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‘famous’ or ‘notorious’?

The adjective famous means honored for achievement. To describe those who do evil attention-getting things, we have the words infamous or notorious. The word infamous expresses the idea that the person or incident described is one of a vicious, contemptible, or criminal nature. Notorious means widely and unfavorably known. So think twice before you say … Continue reading


‘probable’ or ‘possible’?

Possible means having the potential. Probable means likely. Probable refers to what is likely to be done, to occur, or to be true; possible refers to what can be done, to occur, or to be true. If you say something is probable, you are expressing more confidence about it than if you say that it is possible. Compare: Where is Danny? He’s probably … Continue reading

mortar and pestle

  This club-shaped implement to pound or grind substances in a mortar is called a pestle. The vessel that you see here, in which things to be pounded are put, is called a mortar. For Indian/South Asian readers of this post, you may be familiar with stone pestle and mortar (as in the image below) … Continue reading

using ‘the’ with superlatives

Nouns with superlative adjectives normally have the article the. Example: ‘The Exorcist’ is the scariest movie I have ever seen. After link verbs, superlative adjectives have the. Example: I am the greatest. The cannot be dropped when a superlative is used with a defining expression. Example: This deal is the cheapest I could find. But … Continue reading

‘in’ or ‘on’? (for movement)

After verbs like throw, jump, push, put, fall, we can use both in and into, or on and onto, to indicate directional movement. We use into or onto when we think of the movement itself, and in or on when we think more of the end of the movement – the place where an object … Continue reading

‘continuous’ or ‘continual’?

Many learners use continuous and continual interchangeably. But actually they are different in meaning. Continuous indicates duration without interruption. Example: Continuous monitoring of the patient’s condition proved crucial in his treatment. Continual indicates duration that continues over a long period of time, but with intervals of interruption. Example:  The continual street repairs disrupted traffic for nearly two … Continue reading

‘it’s true that…but’ : concession and counter-argument

Expressions of concession and counter-argument are used in a three-part structure: (1) there is discussion of facts that point in a certain direction ↓ (2) it is agreed that a particular contradictory fact points the other way (concession) ↓   (3) but the speaker/writer dismisses this fact and returns to the original direction of argument (counter-argument). … Continue reading

words to describe smells

Words to describe pleasant smells: scented (especially from flowers, plants, or fruits, artificially scented candles, or essence oil) aromatic (especially from food or coffee) fragrant sweet-smelling For unpleasant smells: smelly stinking (especially from decaying objects, like fish) musty (especially books, rooms, or clothes; old and not fresh; especially because they have not been used or … Continue reading

‘last’ or ‘latest’?

We use latest to talk about something new, and last to mean the one before. Example: Her latest book deals with corruption. Reviewers say its much better than her last one.


upcycling means to use in a new way. I’m sure you know several ways of upcyling those KFC buckets or pickle jars. Here’s how it is use: http://wildoceanfish.ca/upcycle/  

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